"Equity release should be a part of every later life financial planning conversation just as downsizing, other financial products and family support should be."
84% of property professionals highlighted the importance of the later life lending sector within the wider UK mortgage and residential property market, during a new webinar poll undertaken by Countrywide Surveying Services (CSS).
Breaking down these responses, over half (54%) suggested that the later life lending sector was ‘very important’ with under a third (30%) expressing that it was ‘somewhat important’. Only 5% said that the sector was ‘not very important’ with 11% implying that it was ‘neither important nor unimportant’.
Delving deeper into later life product offerings - when quizzed on what equity release could be used for - 40% of respondents indicated home improvements, 36% said to supplement income, 32% to clear unsecured debt and 30% to capital raise for any legal purpose, for example - tax bills, IHT planning, holidays etc. A further 26% cited to repay a mortgage, with the same proportion (26%) saying to embark on a property purchase.
Matthew Cumber, managing director at Countrywide Surveying Services, commented: “Given the shifting demographics of the UK population and changing attitudes, the later life sector will continue to provide a prominent route to funds in a way which has subtle differences to a more vanilla lending approach but one that can generate a significant longer-term impact.
“The topics covered in the webinar were certainly thought-provoking and it’s clear that property professionals and intermediaries have a desire to become more informed about an area of the market which will only continue to grow in importance in the years to come.”
Kelly Melville-Kelly, director of risk, policy and compliance at the Equity Release Council, added: “These findings show just how vital an active later life market is for older homeowners. Given the average UK homeowner has £222,526 in equity, many will find property is their largest financial asset, able to bridge the gap between their pension savings and the challenges of later life when incomes typically decline.
“Modern equity release products provide more opportunity and flexibility for older homeowners to free up capital and boost their income without having to leave their homes if they don’t want to.
“Equity release should be a part of every later life financial planning conversation just as downsizing, other financial products and family support should be.
“By using a member of the Equity Release Council, customers will receive the highest standards of support and protections, including independent legal advice.”